CLOSED: Food Society (Toronto)

Toronto’s 2017 summer has been a wet one; hence, when Mother Nature graces us with a sunny day, make the most of it and get out there! Seize every moment and opportunity as what’s left of the summer will be short.

For a quick weekday lunch enjoyed outdoors, Food Society has an ideal option: a $10 barbeque plate that includes a choice of protein, salad, and pop. Simply head to the patio at the back of their restaurant, grab a seat, and let Chef Joe know what you’d like.

The proteins are pre-cooked and then re-heated on the barbeque as ordered. Unfortunately, the meat isn’t at its peak juiciness, but this does allow diners to get a dish without a long wait. That afternoon I had a choice of a burger, jerk chicken, or ribs. Having had a taste of the jerk chicken and the ribs, both were well marinated and flavourful. The ribs incorporates herbs in the rub giving it a refreshing essence while the jerk chicken wasn’t overly spicy - there’s heat but it’s merely in the background.

Chef Joe hails from North Carolina, the mecca of barbeque cooking. He explains that there are three common styles: dry, wet, and vinegar-based. That afternoon he was featuring the dry rub method, which isn’t as popular in Canada given our love for sauce laden meats. It’s a style I’ve recently grown to like as my husband began experimenting on the Big Green Egg. For one, dry rubs are less messy to eat (no sticky hands and crumpled napkins) and you can appreciate the meat’s juices rather than tasting a ton of sugary sauce.

Nevertheless, Joe explains that he’s going to run through different types of recipes – so don’t worry if you like your meat smothered – and given his last stint was working as a private chef for a vegan client, he’ll likely feature a vegan-friendly option as well.

Generally, Food Society caters to those who want healthy but flavourful food. I experienced this with the barbeque plate where the salad was lightly dressed and the meat very lean. By the end of the meal, I left energized, despite the filling meal.

The adjoining cafe features an array of coffees including butter coffee (currently growing in popularity) and nitro cold brews ($3.95) that’s great for the summer. Even though I generally take milk and sugar with my drinks, the nitro cold brew coffee is full-flavoured without being bitter, so smooth I could handle it black.

Aside from all-day breakfast and mains such as soba noodles and quinoa bowls, Food Society’s café has items to satisfy your sweet tooth. From smoothie bowls (which could easily substitute for frozen yoghurt) to acai bowls, I still like the pastries sourced from La Bamboche best.

Having tried the gluten free coconut, dark chocolate, and oat cookie ($3.25) it was surprisingly good for something that didn’t have an ounce of flour. Rather than turning into cardboard, the cookie still had the chewiness and crispy edges you’d want in a biscuit. Saving it for an afternoon break, the dark chocolate was rich and satisfying, keeping me full well into the dinner hour. In the end, they want to ensure the food they serve is never frozen and free of preservatives.

While Food Society only opened in May, they continue to add on and expand. Oliver Knox, owner of Food Society, notes they’ll begin catering services later in the summer (complete with a cooler for chilling smoothie bowls) and will feature local bands on their patio starting September when they expect to receive their liquor license. Best of all, they’ll continue offering the barbeque plate in the evening, so when you go by to listen to the live music you can grab a bite to eat as well.

While the café and lounge areas are swathed in gorgeous lacquered wood and rose gold furniture. The backyard patio has a comfortable whimsical feel with tables in the sun or shade. It’s a space that can be rented for private events (complete with barbeque if you wish), holding 80 for comfort.

For me, I can’t wait until Food Society scores their liquor license. After work drinks on a patio? The requisite way to spend an evening while Mother Nature cooperates. 

Overall mark - 7 out of 10
Disclaimer: The above meal was complimentary. Rest assured, as noted in my mission statement, I will always provide an honest opinion.

How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 650 Bay Street

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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!Food Society Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato